Greytown at a glance
Greytown, named after the governor of the Cape Colony Sir George Edward Grey who later became Premier of New Zealand, is a town situated on the banks of a tributary of the Umvoti River in a richly fertile timber-producing area of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Often referred to as the ‘jewel of KwaZulu Natal, Greytown lies in the forest-clad, rolling hills of the Natal Midlands, a picturesque little town originally settled during the 1850s and subsequently awash with buildings of note, scenic drives and Boer history.
The final resting place of Sarie Marais is at Greytown. Sarie was a legendary Voortrekker woman who died, aged 37, with the birth of her 11th child and is immortalised by the eponymous song, an indelible part of South African culture.
Greytown originally enjoyed a fair amount of importance, playing ‘little elephant’ to Pietermaritzburg’s ‘place of the elephant’. Louis Botha, the country’s first Prime Minister and a famous Boer leader, was born on a farm just outside of Greytown, and some believe that the Liberation Struggle for a democratic South Africa began in Greytown, almost a century ago, with the Bambatha Rebellion. This uprising against white authority by a local Zulu chief forced white residents to shelter in the town hall, built in 1897 and worth a visit when in Greytown.
The Greytown Museum, which is rated as one of South Africa's best country museums, houses a wide variety of outstanding collections and displays, from a Victorian children's room to steam trains and a ship's cannon.
If you are traveling northwards towards Dundee, stop off along the way and take a look at the Bushman paintings on the rocky hillsides where a cairn of stones was placed by early Zulu travelers who passed here, for good luck.